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Marcus Smart Speaks For The First Time Since Beating Up Joel Embiid

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

It was pretty predictable that once the Celts/Sixers game ended that we wouldn’t be hearing from Marcus Smart about his ejection

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and now that he’s finally addressed the subject I can’t say I’m all that surprised at his answers. My hope is that there is more to his post practice comments, maybe an apology for letting his team down and how he needs to be smarter, but until that happens let’s evaluate what we heard. He’s not wrong, it is harder in today’s NBA to play defense, I think we can all agree with that. Personally I feel like defenders like Smart should be able to adapt, so I’m not ready to buy that excuse really. After being on the wrong of a foul right before, it sounds like his biggest problem was the fact that it was an illegal screen by Embiid. There’s no denying Embiid leaned in with his elbow, and even if you want to say it’s no big deal and a 50/50 call, it still happened. Maybe Smart’s flopping reputation got the best of him there, but it’s clear the lack of call there is what sent him over the edge. If the roles were reversed and a Celtic player set that sort of screen on a Sixer, you damn sure Sixers fans would complain about it. That’s just how things like that work.

Now what I actually liked about his comments was the fact that he’s not willing to just take shit from players. Sure it backfired in this instance, but moving forward I don’t want Marcus to start backing down to people and letting them do whatever they want to him. That’s not how Marcus Smart works and it’s not when he’s at his best. Can he be smarter? Absolutely, but his never back down mentality is the backbone of why he is successful at this level and why he’s had such a positive impact on the defensive end this season. The minute Smart becomes less aggressive or lets it be known that you can punk him, that all changes in my opinion.

If you want to love and accept Smart for all the good he does, you also have to accept that he’s going to do this stuff from time to time. We have a big enough sample size to know that this is just who he is as a player and 95% of the time it tends to work out in the Celtics favor. At least we have a little bit of insight as to what may have been going through his mind and while it doesn’t excuse the action by any stretch, at least we know where he was coming from. I guess if you’re wondering if this ejection and subsequent loss will change anything about his approach, well….